In your 20s, your life is just beginning. It feels like you have a world of career opportunities and unending amounts of time to experiment with jobs to find your work bliss. After enduring at least 16 years of school, it finally feels right to leave the classroom and start earning money and prestige in the workplace. What could go wrong?
The short answer is: everything. While job-related mistakes in your 20s might seem small, they could have lasting ramifications on your career. Perhaps the worst mistake of all is failing to complete crucial career moves that position you well for success later in life. If you are young and afraid of wasting the early period of your career, here’s what you need to do:
1.Get More Educated
To break through the lowest level of employment and reach some modicum of authority and respect, you definitely need a bachelor’s degree. However, if your ambitions are a bit loftier – maybe as high as the c-suite – you should spend some time in your 20s gaining even more advanced qualifications.
Education is a risk-free way to gain knowledge and skills pertinent to your field. You should avoid spending too much time away from real-world work experiences. Therefore, the best options for motivated 20-somethings are online degrees. If you can enroll in an affordable, flexible, reliable program – like an AACSB-accredited online MBA  – you will reap the career benefits for the rest of your life.
No matter what you do, who you know is at least as important as what you know. Especially now that job hopping is such an integral element  of career development, you need to have a powerful network to find employment options and gain invaluable insight into correct career moves. As often as possible, you should attend industry events to shake hands with your peers and other influential professionals.
3. Diversify Your Experiences
While you are job hopping, you should consider slightly altering your position and responsibilities with each change in employment. By wiggling around in your experience, you can more accurately identify which tasks you enjoy and which are utterly repulsive. Plus, you’ll get a more holistic look at your field, providing enhanced understanding that will benefit you in management roles.
4. Be Passionate
That popular saying, “Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life” is crock. Work will always be work; even artists sometimes find the creative process a slog. Having passion for your job – finding some type of fulfillment in the tediousness – is vital for sticking with that career for any significant length of time. If you don’t already know your passions, you can spend some time sampling courses from MOOCs , shadowing prominent professionals, interning, and other free career searching options that don’t require much commitment.
5. Set Practical Goals
Goals like “be happy and successful” sound poetic, but they do little to prompt you to make moves in your career. Instead, you should develop a concrete picture of what you want your life to look like in 10 years, and then develop a workable plan to getting there. In some cases, the SMART goal-setting method  is a useful tool to help you achieve your dreams.
6. Keep Good Records
Employers love to see positive numbers in your employment history, but if you are like most people, you’ll have trouble recalling exact stats off the top of your head. That’s why record-keeping is vital. Whenever you get a new job, update your resume. Whenever you complete a project that benefits the business, analyze your success and write it down. You should have a filing cabinet devoted to your career history, so you have evidence of your impact – for employers as well as yourself.
Communication is inarguably the most valuable skill in any industry, and the foundation of excellent communication skills is listening. Whether you are in an MBA class or in a corporate meeting, whether you are with your boss or your subordinate, you should be listening hard. Feedback from anyone is a generous gift you can use to benefit your career, and you should accept all proffered knowledge graciously.
8. Take Risks and Make Sacrifices
According to Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, the biggest risk in life is failing to take any risks. While you should be careful not to make catastrophic mistakes in your 20s, you shouldn’t be afraid of putting yourself out on a limb – especially because you still have some time to make it right. If you are dedicated to chasing true success, you are probably going to spend some of your 20s living off beans and rice while missing events with friends and family. Eventually, you will attain comfort and confidence in your career, and your 20s will have been way more than worthwhile.Google+